Sunday, December 30, 2007

Flirting With Your Fortress

When I started blogging back in 2005 on my (now pretty much deserted) MSN Space, I originally called the blog "Nick's Sanctuary and Fortress of Solitude". It wasn't long before I realised this was actually a bit of a mouthful and dropped the "Fortress of Solitude".

However, that didn't change the original reason I created my blogs - neither this one, nor it's predecessor. They were intended to be a place where I could explore my beliefs in my on head. It's there right before you in the blog description - "A safe haven for sharing my thoughts about my faith, my life and the universe in general". It's still very much a fortress... but I think I need to actually come to terms with what a fortress... a stronghold is actually for.

It occurs to me that maybe sometimes I've sat here and thrown witty remarks or missiles out at my targets from the battlements... but that's little better than the French in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It doesn't deal with the wolf outside the door, it doesn't claim territory for your king... it's just a snug, cosy way of dealing with things. That is not what a sanctuary - a fortress is for... and something I read recently challenged me with regard to this.

Eugene Peterson referred to what he believed a sanctuary exists for... when referring to the time the Old Testament hero David, was a fugitive running from the maniacal King Saul (David went up to a sanctuary in a town called Nob to take refuge, you can read about it here). Peterson writes that:

"A sanctuary is... where I, like David, get bread and a sword, strength for the day and weapons for the fight."

I agree with him. If we stay holed up where it's safe, we make little headway. Every historical stronghold I can think of has at some point fallen to an attacking force... you can only hold out so long. In Lord of the Rings, King Theoden is trapped within his stronghold of Helm's Deep... it is about to fall... when he heeds the advice to gear up and take the battle to the enemy. This seemingly futile gesture is rewarded when Gandalf and the Rohirrim come charging into the fray, ploughing through the orc hordes and smiting all before them:

I'm not saying that we should never remain within the safety of the city walls... clearly in scripture there is wisdom in this also - Hezekiah was commanded by God not to leave Jerusalem... and an angel struck down the armies of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.

What I am saying is that although sanctuaries are places to protect what you value, they are also places to nourish yourself from hidden reserves, equip yourself for battle and muster your forces. They are also a place where you train for combat. The other day I referenced Smallville and it's been established in the series that Clark will have to go to the stronghold built specifically for him - the Fortress of Solitude, in order to complete his training as a superhero and the transition into Superman - the Man of Steel. In the clip below, we see him get a brief taste of this training:

My hope is that as I have continued to voice my concerns and beliefs on this site, that I have also learned to hone the skills and powers I'm going to need for what God calls me to. That is what this blog is for now. It's not just a place for protection... it's a launchpad.

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